Saturday’s B.C. election may mark a milestone in the politics of the province in more than one way.
It took place under the sign of a pandemic that has turned the world we had known upside down. The global economy, with its extensive transnational lines of supply and demand, will not remain the same. National sovereignty has suddenly acquired a new importance, as borders have been closed, and country after country seeks to ensure an adequate national supply of key medical equipment.
Austerity, the byword of several decades of economic policy-making in the OECD world and beyond, has taken a big hit, as countries — and subnational units like provinces — engage in forms of deficit expenditure not seen since the Second World War.
Something else may also have been taking place, with significant long-term implications. The intense polarization that has often characterized politics, not least in B.C., has given way to a more consensual approach. In Canada at least — unlike countries like the United States or Brazil — there has been a significant level of co-operation between the federal and provincial governments. The same has been true for the interaction among political parties within B.C.
British Columbia, where divisions between right and left were once paramount, has been a model of parties coming together to face an overriding threat. We have been well served by excellent public health officers — Dr. Bonnie Henry first and foremost — but also by an excellent Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, and by close co-operation across party lines in the legislature.
One of the reasons the NDP was successful in securing a second mandate, this time with a clear majority, was because of its good management of the pandemic, when compared to provinces like Alberta, Ontario, and especially Quebec. The NDP also benefited from having run a fairly tight ship fiscally in the three years preceding COVID-19, in co-operation with the Green Party. And it was also helped, in my opinion, by the less polarizing character that has characterized provincial politics in recent years
The NDP is a moderately left-of-centre party with less of the ideological animus that characterized it 25 or 50 years ago. The Greens have emerged as an important third force, positioning themselves as an alternative voice, especially in matters related to the environment. And the B.C. Liberals, the main right-of-centre provincial party, find themselves chastened in the aftermath of their Oct. 24 defeat, forced to rethink some of their harder ideological stances of yesteryear.
So maybe, just maybe, B.C. politics may have come of age. The pandemic in particular has reminded us all that faced with challenges to our very survival, old ideological divides matter a lot less. The more we can find consensus, at least around core issues, the better.
I hope some of this carries over into the newly elected legislature and that Premier John Horgan lives up to his promise to pay close attention to relevant suggestions that come from across the aisle. Then we may discover that the pandemic, for all its devastation, may have done the politics of this province some good.
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'The Great Reset', politics and conspiracy – CBC.ca
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Last week, after a video of one of his speeches went viral, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had to address a growing controversy over “The Great Reset”.
The term means different things to different people. To the World Economic Forum it’s a vague goal to make the world more equal and address climate change in the wake of the pandemic. To Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre it’s evidence of a “power grab” by “global financial elites”.
And to others, it’s part of a baseless and wide-ranging conspiracy theory. CBC senior writer Aaron Wherry has been covering this story in Ottawa. Today he helps us sort the real economics and politics at play… from the conspiracy gaining traction.
Leo Glavine, close political ally and friend of Premier McNeil, leaving politics – CBC.ca
Leo Glavine and Stephen McNeil share a political border that spans almost 45 kilometres, but it’s not proximity that has cemented their political and personal friendship during the past 17 years — it’s mutual loyalty and respect.
So it was no surprise that both men talked in glowing terms about the other when addressing reporters Thursday after Glavine formally announced his decision to retire before the next election.
“I’ve had the good fortune to come into political life with Premier McNeil,” said Glavine, noting both men first took their seats at Province House in 2003. Each has been re-elected four times since.
McNeil, who announced his plans in August to retire, called Glavine a friend and described their political careers as “a great journey.”
“I admire you a great deal and I wish you nothing but great health and happiness and you head into the next part, the next chapter of your life,” McNeil said following a cabinet meeting.
Opposition to government
They sat near each other, first on the opposition side of the House, then on the government front benches starting in 2013 when McNeil became premier. Glavine was one of the first in the Liberal caucus to support McNeil’s leadership bid against three opponents.
McNeil picked Glavine to be his first minister of health, a post Glavine held during the Liberal government’s entire first mandate. During that time, Glavine spearheaded the government’s tumultuous but ultimately successful drive to merge the province’s nine district health authorities into a single entity.
At the same time, the McNeil government squared off against the province’s public sector unions, taking away the right to strike from health workers, then forcing a reduction in the number of bargaining units in the sector. Those actions led to many large and noisy demonstrations outside Province House. The governing Liberals also imposed around-the-clock sittings at the legislature to fast-track necessary bills to enact those changes.
Glavine remained steadfast in his support for McNeil and his reorganization plans. In return, McNeil kept Glavine in the job despite the minister’s inability, at times, to properly or succinctly articulate those plans.
‘Everything old is new again’
McNeil’s seemingly unending confidence in Glavine was demonstrated again last month when the premier reappointed him to replace Randy Delorey as health minister after Delorey resigned to run in the Liberal leadership race.
“Everything old is new again,” quipped Glavine as he approached reporters after a brief ceremony Oct. 13 at Government House.
Asking Glavine to take over the portfolio in the midst of a pandemic may have been the ultimate display of confidence in his friend.
Glavine repaid the compliment in his farewell message Thursday.
“We’ve had an exceptional team in Public Health, the premier to guide our province through what may be one of the most challenging and difficult periods in the 21st century,” said Glavine, who characterized himself as “a very ordinary Nova Scotian” who came to Province House to “do the best work possible.”
What the future holds
The one-time public school teacher called his time in politics “a joy,” offering himself a rare bit of self-congratulation.
“While there were lots of challenges and stressful moments, I have not missed a day of work in my 17½ years in political office,” he said.
Glavine will stay on as the MLA for Kings West until the next election is called. He said he plans to go back to private life to “enjoy what the Valley has to offer” and spend more time with his grandchildren.
N.S. health minister to retire from politics after term ends – Global News
Nova Scotia Minister of Health Leo Glavine has announced he is stepping down after his term.
Glavine said in a Thursday cabinet meeting he will not be re-offering in the next election and is choosing to retire from politics.
But, he will carry out his term.
“I certainly plan to put my heart and soul into the next number of months,” Glavine said.
“The premier called upon me to fill the role of minister of health which I will certainly do until Feb. 6, and maybe the new premier will ask me to carry on, which I would certainly be honoured to do, as tough as it is.”
Glavine, a former educator, has had nearly 18 years of political life. He was first elected MLA for Kings West in 2003.
“It’s a great honour to be able to serve my riding first, and then go to government and serve the province,” Glavine said.
Glavine told cabinet it’s been an emotional day for him.
“To put the kind of time into an elected office that is required today, certainly my first thanks go to my wife Doris, my family. Probably the biggest reason of all at this stage of my life, to head back to private life and enjoy what the valley has to offer and what our province has to offer.”
Glavine said he now hopes to spend more time with his grandchildren.
He said he is grateful for the support of his colleagues.
“I’m reminded that politics is the ultimate in-the-team game,” Glavine said.
McNeil discusses new cabinet appointments
“I’ve had the good fortune to have a number of people to be my sounding board during my time in office. I’ve had the good fortune to come into political life with Premier McNeil… We’re the only two remaining from the class of 2003, so maybe quite appropriate that as he leaves political office, I leave as well.”
Glavine’s announcement comes just as Nova Scotia entered the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Public Health team has put in hard work, which will certainly continue in the new year.
“We’ve had an exceptional team in public health and the premier to guide our province through what may be one of the most challenging and difficult periods in the 21st century and we’ll have to certainly see about that.”
Glavine said he’s grateful for what politics has thrown at him.
“There are no perfect answers or solutions to all problems, but to get up each day and face what’s on the plate of the province… has for me been a joy.”
“I have not missed a day of work in my 17 and a half years in political office. So, I’ve enjoyed the journey and I look forward now to the next stage of my life.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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